Having been in the branded food, beverage & wine business for many years and enjoyed the many wonderful and varied cuisines paired with wines from my numerous trips to the wineries & wine fairs, together with my successful wine pairing dinners in Malaysia over the last 18 years (since 1997), I now wish to share my happy experience with food and wine lovers who are keen to know more and experience the joy of blissful pairing of your favorite dishes with the right wines.
Of course, Malaysians being blessed with so many great and varied dishes (viz. Chinese, Indian, Malay/Indonesian, Peranakan, Thai, Western, etc), it is not possible for me to jam in too many popular dishes with the right pairing wines in just one book.
Hence, my First Edition on “Pairing Wines with favorite Malaysian dishes” will focus only on 20 Favorite Malaysian Dishes in Chinese Restaurants.
Wines do pair well with Chinese food. However finding suitable wines to match Chinese dishes can be quite a challenge vis-à-vis wine pairing with Western food. Usually several dishes are served almost at the same time and shared by all present on the table. Hence difficult to choose a wine that can pair well with the 4 Seasons, soup, fish, seafood, poultry, pork or red meat all at the same time.
Also many good Chinese dishes are well flavored and cooked in different styles, whereby the main flavor of the dish may not come primarily from the “main ingredient” ie. pork, fish, chicken, duck or vegetables but from the cooking styles, the sauce, seasonings, herbs and spices used instead.
Nevertheless, good matching or pairing can still be achieved and appreciated by food & wine lovers with some better understanding on the different cuisines and their basic flavors (viz. saltiness, sourness, sweetness, spiciness and bitterness), their intensity, texture and cooking methods and then by smart matching with different wines of suitable Styles, for a more enjoyable dining experience.
And for a 7 or 8-Course dinner in a good restaurant, try to arrange to have the dishes served one at a time, and 2 wine glasses (if available); one for white and the other for your red wines. More and more up-market fine-dining Chinese restaurants especially in KL/PJ have their own wine glasses and many still not charging corkage for the wines bought in by diners.
So, while you brace yourself to usher in the New Year of the “Monkey” with several sumptuous CNY dinners in January & February 2016, or just enjoying your usual favorite dishes with friends and relatives, is it timely (particularly for food and wine lovers) to know how to choose the Right Wines to pair with the popular “Sau Kung Chow” dishes and your other favorite restaurant dishes.
Bon Appetit & Cheers!